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Should We Have Fewer Children to Save the Planet?


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William McGunn from the Wall Street Journal writes:

"The most recent example of anti-birth thinking comes from Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax of Oregon State University. In a study called “Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals,” they suggest that if you truly care about the environment, it’s not enough to trade your SUV for a Prius, use the right lightbulbs, or limit your lawn to organic fertilizers. To the contrary, you need to start thinking about something way more important: i.e., having one less child.

The “basic premise,” the study reports, is that “a person is responsible for emissions of his descendents.”

When Mr. Murtaugh runs the numbers, he finds some alarming results. Take an American woman who checks all the green boxes: She recycles, installs energy efficient windows, cuts back how much she drives, and so on. Yet simply by having two children, Prof. Murtaugh reports, she will add nearly 40 times the amount of carbon dioxide emissions she had saved with those lifestyle changes. No wonder the Los Angeles Times Web site reports on this study under the title “Tie Your Tubes and Save the Planet?”"

Yes. People in the West should aim to have fewer children! Why only people in the rich West you may ask? Read: Overpopulation is not the problem - overconsumption by the rich few is

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I think it would help. The more people, the more fossil fuels used. If more people want to have 20 kids, like the Duggars, then maybe we should work harder in replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives for our energy needs. The Duggars should take an active role since they're polluting the place! Is there really a need to have so many kids? Is it just for celebrity and money?

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I think it would help. The more people, the more fossil fuels used. If more people want to have 20 kids, like the Duggars, then maybe we should work harder in replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives for our energy needs. The Duggars should take an active role since they're polluting the place! Is there really a need to have so many kids? Is it just for celebrity and money?

Oh my... The Duggars makes me sick in so many ways for so many reasons...

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I think it would help. The more people, the more fossil fuels used. If more people want to have 20 kids, like the Duggars, then maybe we should work harder in replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives for our energy needs. The Duggars should take an active role since they're polluting the place! Is there really a need to have so many kids? Is it just for celebrity and money?

Some people really have too much money and too much free time

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  • 2 years later...

Interesting article, and it makes sense. Those of us in the West do use more resources than people in other countries (even those of us who are far from the Western standard of "rich"). We drive our cars, keep our homes climate-controlled, have the most power-sucking gadgets, are most concerned with frequent baths and showers, etc.

I'll have to remember all this the next time the in-laws nag me about wanting grandchildren. ;)

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Well, I would definitely be saving the planet with this one! It's difficult for me to carry a baby, due to health reasons and it has to be properly planned and monitored, if I decided to have one. That usually means we would need to spend tons of money and I have been weighing the pros and cons of having a child, and I have come to a conclusion that we would not have one. My fiance has two children from his previous marriage, and that alone is enough for me. In addition, I have my nieces and nephew to spoil with my love and attention, and I am pretty sure my siblings would not be having any more children. Therefore, we would certainly help a bit in this department :P

That said, I personally think that China is over-populated and I think that, in some ways, should be addressed.

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Well, I would definitely be saving the planet with this one! It's difficult for me to carry a baby, due to health reasons and it has to be properly planned and monitored, if I decided to have one. That usually means we would need to spend tons of money and I have been weighing the pros and cons of having a child, and I have come to a conclusion that we would not have one. My fiance has two children from his previous marriage, and that alone is enough for me. In addition, I have my nieces and nephew to spoil with my love and attention, and I am pretty sure my siblings would not be having any more children. Therefore, we would certainly help a bit in this department :P

That said, I personally think that China is over-populated and I think that, in some ways, should be addressed.

China is not over-populated. China is not even in the top 10 most densely populated countries. China does produce the most CO2 emissions, almost 25% of the global total. The problem is that the economy is booming, a rising superpower. To overcome the problem we need a socialist China and a socialist world, production needs to be planned harmoniously.

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  • 2 months later...

I would not be opposed to a 1 child per person rule. The population would not grow anymore and there would be some deaths at a youner age that would further decrease the population. As it is the earth was not made to sustain this level of need. We are depleating all resources faster than we can renew them. The aquaphours under Mexico city are collapsing and the midwest is next. Even if they stopped pumping water today the damage has been done already and mexico city is destined to fall into the earth because there is nothing to support it from within the earth. With droubt and famine on the rise it would be wise to impose some sort of viluntary measures or maybe offer rewards for larger families rather than more tax breaks for more children. Offer tax incentives for going into renewable energy feilds or making positive progress towards more natural approaches.

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Take an American woman who checks all the green boxes: She recycles, installs energy efficient windows, cuts back how much she drives, and so on. Yet simply by having two children, Prof. Murtaugh reports, she will add nearly 40 times the amount of carbon dioxide emissions she had saved with those lifestyle changes.

Fair enough. I really don't have an issue with a woman having 2 children, though. Yes, she is creating more by having more children, but just by her existing, she's causing a lot of damage. I'm not going to suggest she kill herself to further reduce that instead.

I DO think that it should be considered when deciding on having a LOT of children, though. The difference between that third and fourth child, for example? Or does someone REALLY need 10 kids? I think that if someone really wants to, then okay, who am I to judge, but I can't help but think of all the children out there that don't have homes or loving families who could be benefiting without bringing more new children into the world.

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David Attenbourough did a fantastic documentary that discusses issues of over population on this planet, that is really worth watching if this is a subject that interests you!

Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN06tLRE4WE

I once read that the entire population of the planet, all 7 billion, could stand shoulder to shoulder and we would only take up the space of Los Angeles... look how much space there is left! It is over consumption from greedy countries like the USA that are the problem.

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